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License Plates will Stay with Drivers in Kentucky Beginning in 2024

Updated vehicle registration database allows for easier vehicle ownership procedures for drivers in Kentucky.

FRANKFORT, KY (Dec. 21, 2023) – Building on the state’s plans to migrate from an outdated vehicle registration database to a modern, more efficient system beginning in January, Kentuckians will now keep their license plates when transferring vehicle ownership- a move that will improve convenience and save money for Kentuckians.  

This is a change from the current practice where plates were linked to the vehicle.

“Upgrading to a new vehicle information system unlocks opportunities for us to implement new ways to make the process of transferring vehicle ownership better for Kentuckians, and in some cases, keep more money in their pockets,” said Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray.

Kentuckians will now retain both unexpired registration and the license plate when transferring ownership- a common practice when selling a vehicle. Also, owners of specialty license plates – nonprofit and military plates - will save money by no longer paying for a standard license plate to go with the transferred vehicle and paying to place their specialty plate on the new vehicle.

Currently, when a vehicle with an unexpired registration is transferred, a standard issue plate and registration are transferred with the vehicle to the new owner. Once the new Kentucky Automated Vehicle Information System (KAVIS) is available statewide in mid-January, when a vehicle is transferred with unexpired registration, the plate is retained by the seller. Additionally, the seller gains the ability to apply the plate and unexpired registration, including standard-issue plates, to any other vehicle they own of the same class, including a newly purchased vehicle.

“This change improves things operationally as well as makes things more convenient for Kentuckians,” said Department of Vehicle Regulation Commissioner Matt Cole. “By keeping your plate, you don’t have to deal with surprise toll charges from the new owner’s trips and you don’t have to memorize a new plate number when you get a new car.”

KAVIS Transition Reminder

Kentuckians are reminded that the full launch to KAVIS is slated to begin at the end of the month through early January, which means vehicle and boat related services will be temporarily paused at county clerk offices. This will mainly impact anyone who plans to sell, buy or renew a vehicle in Kentucky in January. KAVIS replaces a 40-year-old platform with a more efficient operational system to maintain more than 350 million vehicle records. This system change will not impact driver license issuance at Driver Licensing Regional Offices.

The following services will be unavailable during the migration: vehicle and boat registration renewals, vehicle and boat titling and transfers, disabled parking permit issuance and license plate issuance. Vehicle owners due to renew in December are encouraged to do so early before holiday closures.  

  • Online vehicle registration renewal: Unavailable starting Dec. 28, 2023. Online renewal will be restored the week of Jan. 8, 2024. Visit drive.ky.gov for updates.
  • County Clerk Offices: Motor vehicle and vessel-related services, including issuance of disabled placards, will be unavailable as early as Friday, Dec. 29. All offices will pause services starting Jan. 1, 2024 and gradually resume services the week of Jan. 8, 2024. Some offices will choose to close to the public during this time while others may be open to perform services not related to vehicles or boats.

Kentuckians should check with their county clerk in January to see when they plan to resume services as it will vary by county. 

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